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The Christmas Pact

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Heat up the holidays with this sizzling new novella from New York Times best-selling authors Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward!

Riley Kennedy’s emails keep getting crossed with her colleague, Kennedy Riley.

The infuriating man forwards them along with his annoying commentary and unsolicited advice. At least she never has to see him in person since they work in different locations…until they come face to face at the office holiday party. As luck would have it, Kennedy turns out to be gorgeous…though still a jerk. Yet somehow he’s able to charm her out on the dance floor—and convince her to participate in his crazy scheme: He’ll go home with Riley for a Christmas party and pretend to be her boyfriend if Riley agrees to be his date to a wedding.

It sounds easy enough. But little by little, the act they’re putting on starts to feel like so much more than a Christmas pact—and Riley’s about to learn there’s more to Kennedy than she ever imagined.

3 pages, Audible Audio

First published December 5, 2019

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About the author

Vi Keeland

99 books30.4k followers
Vi Keeland is a #1 New York Times, #1 Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author. With millions of books sold, her titles have appeared in over one hundred Bestseller lists and are currently translated in twenty-six languages. She resides in New York with her husband and their three children where she is living out her own happily ever after with the boy she met at age six.

Stop by and meet Vi in her private reader group on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/groups/ViKee...

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5 stars
4,659 (21%)
4 stars
7,878 (36%)
3 stars
6,906 (31%)
2 stars
1,801 (8%)
1 star
539 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 3,094 reviews
Profile Image for Tina.
478 reviews729 followers
July 21, 2022
I thought this would be a fun book for, "Christmas in July." It's a short story FREEBIE on Audible available to subscribers.

The premise is cute. Riley Kennedy works for a publishing company in NYC. She decides to write to an advice columnist but the e-mail gets mixed up with her colleague whose name is Kennedy Riley. They decide to help each other out at Christmas time with their perspective families.

It was an entertaining story narrated by the ever popular duo of Andi Arndt and Sebastian York.
Profile Image for Christy.
3,712 reviews31.6k followers
December 10, 2019
4 stars

The Christmas Pact is a short and sweet Christmas novella by Vi Keeland & Penelope Ward. I love this writing duo and when I saw they had a short audiobook available I started listening right away. It was the best way to spend 2 hours and 54 minutes.

Kennedy Riley and Riley Kennedy work for the same company, but have never met. They do happen to get each others emails quite often, though. Kennedy likes to send Riley’s back to her with his commentary, which she doesn’t appreciate. They finally meet at a Christmas party and Kennedy is far more handsome and charming than Riley could have predicted.

He’s so charming, in fact, that he talks her into coming to a wedding with him, and in exchange, he will be her fake date at her family’s Christmas party. You know what happens from here, that fake dating starts to feel just a little real…

This audiobook was narrated by Andi Arndt and Sebastian York. They are another duo I love and did a fantastic job voicing Riley Kennedy and Kennedy Riley. They always give a great performance and this was no exception. I would recommend the audio version of this story.

If you’re looking for a fun and sweet Christmas story with a little steam, this is the book for you.
Profile Image for Jacob Proffitt.
2,855 reviews1,496 followers
December 10, 2019
This was pretty short, but I'm a huge fan of the narrators and it seemed like a great fit for the season, so I gave it a shot. And it worked for me for most of the story. Until it pulled into Stupidville for a stupiding and couldn't find its way out again. I mean, I kind of loved the premise of two people having reversed names and having some internal company issues because their emails get missent. I mean that's an interesting meet cute. And I enjoyed seeing them get along as they got to know one another and that they didn't hatch too stupid a plot along the way.

And that lulled me. I mean, I'd expect the stupid to pile up really early as the authors manufacture a reason for them to pretend to be together for some reason. But no, that part worked out mostly okay. No, the stupid happens in the last bit where Kennedy has a characterectomy and left me going "the what, now?!?" Like, I didn't see that one coming and it made for a completely gratuitous setback that made zero sense. It's like the authors couldn't figure out any better way to extend the story, so they reached for the stupid stock and it all got applied to Kennedy on accident.

Anyway, this was cruising on a solid four stars or so but dropped to two with its little stunt. I mean, it pushed me so far out of the story that I couldn't stop picking at it in my head even when things got back on track. Or maybe they never got back on track and it was all stupid all the way down, suddenly? Either way, it's a crying shame when a story tanks that badly after being mostly pretty good.

A note about Chaste: They end up doing the deed during the course of the story but there's no explicit sex on page. So I consider it chaste, but they discuss sex and eventually have sex and talk about sex, so it's not as clearly so as many readers will prefer.
Profile Image for Jessica.
2,173 reviews3 followers
December 12, 2019
EW NO. The second this switched to the man’s perspective I was OUT. “I felt a twitch in my pants.” “Hearing that no man had planted his flag on planet Riley for a long time made me a little crazy.”

Unsuitable guy who’s kind of a jerk is then reformed into dream boyfriend is not a favorite of mine, but I get that it’s a trope that exists. This was beyond that. No thank you. Also, the woman’s big realization near the end is that she IS boring and if only she could get that man back her life would be Christmas-letter worthy.
January 6, 2022
this was cute, but nothing too special. it reminded me a lot of holidate on netflix. them having the same name but backwards: Kennedy Riley & Riley Kennedy was a bit too much for me since i’m not a big fan of too much cheesiness but I get that it played an important part in the story. I enjoyed the christmas vibes.
Profile Image for Danielle.
779 reviews365 followers
December 24, 2021
I actually really enjoyed this one! If you’re good with some steamy hot chemistry 🔥 and some adult language 🤭(pick me🤗)- then this may just fill your holiday romcom need! 🎄🎅🏻
157 reviews57 followers
December 20, 2020
Its me and not this book i guess. Again this author duo is my favourite and i have loved all tbeir books, but this dint work out. The plot seemed interesting, i know this is a novella, but i just couldnt relate to it. Simply i jst dint wanna read ahead. It seemed very clichè and predictable. I did love all the festive vibe though. Thats it.
Profile Image for Melanie (mells_view).
1,684 reviews311 followers
December 11, 2020
Cute Fake Date Holiday quickie...

This was a cute fake date for the holidays novella. I do feel like this book pretty much follows a formula this duo has established, but I still really enjoyed it, and that fact that it was quick really made the formula vibe work for me. I enjoyed Kennedy and Riley and how they even encountered each other. It’s just a fun read with a dash of angst to keep it interesting!
Profile Image for Phrynne.
3,116 reviews1,977 followers
December 20, 2019
I picked this up from Audible Original as one of their freebies for December. It was an entertaining way to spend 2+ hours of listening time. The narrators were particularly good.

The story started well and then continued in a fairly predictable manner. I did feel that what we were told was Kennedy's character and how it came across in the story did not align well. Actually his character was all over the place but it all came good in the end.

The ending was silly but sweet. Just don't take it too seriously and it is a fun read.
Profile Image for MarvelUsReads.
359 reviews60 followers
December 21, 2020
An enemies-to-lovers holiday work romance, The Christmas Pact is a charming read. Dreading her family’s Christmas gathering, Riley’s arch nemesis and colleague, Kennedy convinces her to take part in an outlandish plan. What begins under the facade of a fake relationship, quickly morphs into love. However, when fear erupts, their journey takes an unexpected turn. Unable to deny their feelings, a comical yet whimsical grand romantic gesture, simply fitting for a holiday romance sets their passion back on course!
Profile Image for NAT.orious reads ☾.
817 reviews322 followers
December 13, 2020
This book is for you if… romances get extra points if they're set during the holidays in an environment filled with family pressure and infused with painfully denied horniness.

It's not you, it's me is about the most unhelpful feedback a writer can get. It is also very honest. My biggest issue was that I saw the plot twist in The Christmas Pact coming the minute ViPen indicated there was a secret. I just knew. And it sort of spoiled the entire romance for me even though The Christmas Pact is about so much more than just that one plot twist.

Overall, this cute and cosy romance novel beautifully illustrated the power of love and taking a chance. Life is nothing but a series of events that we either miss out on or not. And as wise philosophers everywhere on the planet tell us: The things we regret the most are the opportunities we didn't take.

If you haven't read a specific book in the last time that has a similar secret/plot twist you most likely will not be as disgruntled about it as this sad reviewer right here.

What’s happening.
Because both Riley and Kennedy feel like appearing to the annual Christmas celebrations of each of their families with a spouse would be excellent for their stress level, they decide to pair up and play happy couple for a while at each others' parties. If it only didn't feel so damn good.
3 STARS. Decent read that I have neither strongly positive nor negative feelings about. Some things irked me and thus it does not qualify as exceptional.
Profile Image for Stacey.
1,447 reviews1,162 followers
January 21, 2020
A great in-between audio

I know it's after Christmas but I needed a listen for today and I wanted to get all the bubbles of joy in one hit. It was short, sweet and gave me one of the biggest and goofiest grins at the end that I HAD to give it 5 stars.

The narrators do a fantastic job bringing this story to life and I was left extremely satisfied. If you're sad that Christmas is over and wouldn't mind one last visit with St Nick, I highly recommend giving The Christmas Pact a try.
Profile Image for Maren’s Reads.
288 reviews566 followers
September 1, 2022
3 is being a bit generous with this one. Not my favorite. Lots of steam, little plot and Insta love. But I always love a cute Christmas story (although debatable how much Christmas was actually in this story).
Profile Image for Jackson Theofore Keys.
62 reviews7 followers
December 7, 2019
A sleazy, sexist man manipulates a woman into loving him. It was a truly awful book. I give their relationship two years before restraining orders and divorce lawyers ate needed. Luckily this book was an Audible free selection for December, so I don't feel terribly cheated. Instead, I just feel disturbed.
Profile Image for Leticia (jerseygirl).
317 reviews123 followers
November 24, 2020
"When I was a kid, I loved Christmas."
So yeah, I needed something Christmas-y in my life, and I chose this one. It's short, it's very sweet and it makes you all warm and fuzzy inside. Which is kind of the point when it comes to Christmas, right?

"Just be yourself. That’s more than enough. There’s nothing you could say that could make you better than you already are."
Riley and Kennedy are seemingly doing well. They work at the same company, they seem happy enough with their lives, but then something happens (not spoiling anything for you here) and Riley realizes she may be missing out on life and living it. And once Kennedy gets to know Riley in person, he realizes he's missing something too. The rest, as they say, is history.

"Sometimes the person in love is the last to know he’s already fallen."
I loved the whole feel of this story. First off, the name swap (Riley Kennedy vs. Kennedy Riley) and the e-mail mishaps were hilarious. Dual POVs was amazing so we could get a glimpse of what Kennedy had in mind at times. The way their relationship evolves is definitely interesting, and it's so heartwarming to read.

"In that moment, it all made sense: everything that had happened thus far in my life, all of the days where everything felt meaningless and not ‘letter worthy’, were necessary to get me here, to this point, with this man."
I think what gets me the most is that I can relate to Riley on a few levels. The way she feels her life is not complete and boring. The way she feels about opening her heart. But, you know, this story is about the steps you take in life, even those you're not so sure about, and the decisions you end up making - sometimes they work, sometimes they don't, but they're always necessary.
And sometimes they lead you to your happily ever after - like a Christmas miracle of sorts.

Happy Holidays everyone!
Profile Image for myo (myonna reads).
646 reviews6,082 followers
November 17, 2022
i was NOT expecting to like this as much as i did omg, i just started the audio because it’s been sitting in my audible for a while and i was just going to listen to a few minutes. next thing i knew i couldn’t even put the book down. this a good book and honestly i really recommend it for christmas, these authors do such a good job together
Profile Image for Renee Nicole.
299 reviews185 followers
December 17, 2020

Eh. Straight edge romance is for chumps. Plus, one was named Kennedy Riley and the other was Riley Kennedy. It confused the shit outta me.

Kinda cute little love story, though. So I'll give it a whopping two stars. Which is more than I'd give most "romance" novellas who's dirtiest scene was a back rub.
Profile Image for Nana .
1,201 reviews36 followers
December 17, 2020
Christmas short story, too cheesy, reads fast, but meh, I don't think I'll remember anything in a few days, but maybe the coincidence of the names Riley Kennedy and Kennedy Riley, that was funny.
Profile Image for Cori.
790 reviews132 followers
December 13, 2019
Typically, I'm not a sucker for romance. I tend to veer in the direction of action and suspense. But around Christmas, my Mom's corny Christmas tradition of watching Hallmark movies infiltrates my reading habits, and I end up reading a handful of twinkle-light-problems-that-resolve-perfectly-shaken-snowglobe-powder-snow-Christmas-miracle romances.

Naturally, the nature of rom-coms and Christmas romances comes with a specific set of tropes. But a few of the tropes in this story threw themselves so headlong into convenient situations and speedy insta-love, it got creepy.

1) Some of what Kennedy (male protagonist) says could be seen as funny and quippy. But then when his inner monologue matches the overt sexual jokes, it makes it creepy. Especially when he kiiiind of does stalk this chick a little bit. And this is where, yes, I as a reader am reading into (pun intended) the insta-love romance trope that often comes with Christmas comedies. Definitely. The intent is innocent. It just felt off.

2) Both characters possessed personality traits that completely opposed each other. And not in an interesting conundrum character that catches your attention, you know? Like a proud person who also struggles with self-worth, or a depressed person who also exhibits ADHD symptoms. I'm talking about a character who doesn't feel thought through. And both Kennedy and Riley felt like this. Riley will say things that are completely raunchy and crass to the point the listener can actually blush a bit, and other times her character doesn't know what the most basic sexual references are. As if she was wrote as an innocent character, but the playfulness the authors wrote in went a step too far. It doesn't play well when she says things that are Cosmo-pick-up-line-esque. Likewise, Kennedy is supposed to be a fragile character who would only be interested in "the real thing." But his character comes across as shallow and desperate to an irreconcilable point at other times.

I almost DNF-d this one multiple times. But it was short. It was free. And I couldn't return it. I actually tried. Not my favorite. BUT I mentioned the fact that I don't typically do romance for a reason. Within the romance genre, this may be a fun little book, and I just don't appreciate it due to unfamiliarity with the genre itself.

I'd rate this book an M for sexual references, crass language and swearing, and adult themes. Although it doesn't necessarily deserve an R rating, it's more than a PG-13. So M fits pretty well.
Profile Image for Carole (Carole's Random Life).
1,638 reviews449 followers
December 11, 2019
This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

Oh, this was fun! I picked this book as a freebie with no plans to read it anytime soon. The book that I had planned to read just didn't appeal to me so I decided to go ahead and give this one a try. I do enjoy shorter listens from time to time and the fact that this book is narrated by Andi Arndt and Sebastian York was a big plus. I found this to be a well-done romance and I am glad that I decided to give it a try.

I loved the setup of this story. Riley Kennedy and Kennedy Riley both work at the same company but in different divisions. They often receive the other's emails and Kennedy sometimes adds a few comments before he forwards Riley's emails to her. They meet at the company's Christmas party and strike a deal to help each other out with a couple of upcoming events.

I liked Riley and Kennedy and thought that they had great chemistry together. I loved the banter that they had with each other. It was a lot of fun to watch these two get to know each other. There were some pretty eye-opening events in both Riley and Kennedy's past that made it easier to understand why they were careful with their hearts.

I love the narrating pair of Andi Arndt and Sebastian York and I thought that they did a fantastic job with this story. Their voices just seem to work really well together with this kind of story. I loved the voices that they used for the various characters and the emotion that they added to their performance. I am sure that I enjoyed this story just a bit more due to their narration.

I would recommend this story to anyone looking for a shorter romantic read. I thought that this was a great way to spend a few hours and look forward to reading more from this writing pair in the future.

Initial Thoughts
This was such a fun romance! I love the set up of the story. Riley and Kennedy were wonderful together. I thought that they had wonderful chemistry from the start that only grew as they got to know each other. I thought there were some pretty funny parts worked into this story and a few that made my heart melt just a bit. I think that Andi Arndt and Sebastian York are a great pair of narrators and they both did an amazing job with this story.

Book source: Audible freebie
51 reviews42 followers
November 7, 2020
I was going to read Pawn by TM Frazier but I just couldn't. I tried very hard but you guessed it right. Reading slump decided to make a cameo in my life. I feel like reading slumps have the worst timings. Like when I'm trying to pass the 100 book benchmark in 2020, I get a reading slump. I tried to force myself to read but wasn't really into it so gave up and took a short break. To top that off, I caught a cold.

All in all, I picked this book up hoping that I would help me out of my slump, and at this point, it has worn off like 75%. Thank God for that. We'll just have to do something about the rest of the 25% but at least I don't have to force myself to pick up a book.

As for this novella, it delivered what it promised: a short, sweet, Christmas romance. The only thing I had trouble with was the dialogue. I felt that it was weirdly unnatural and fragmentary. The dialogues didn't seem to flow seamlessly.

Lastly, recommend me something to help me outta this slump. We gotta get rid of its unwelcome presence.

Profile Image for Kathi.
602 reviews14 followers
December 15, 2021
"Christmas Deal" ist ein Einzelband von Vi Keeland & Penelope Ward. Für mich ist es das erste Buch der beiden Autorinnen. Die Geschichte ist wirklich unterhaltsam und die Vertonung relativ gut umgesetzt. Leider ist die Handlung aber auch ziemlich oberflächlich, die Charaktere haben kaum Ecken und Kanten. Eventuell liegt es auch daran, dass dieses Buch nur 172 Seiten hat.

Von mir gibt es 3,5 Sterne, da mich die Geschichte gut unterhalten hat. Vom Hocker reißt mich das Buch aber leider nicht.

Hier noch ein paar Daten zum Hörbuch:
LYX Audio / 225 Minuten
Sprecher: Sarah Liu, Alexander Schwarz
Profile Image for Floripiquita.
1,327 reviews150 followers
December 9, 2020
3,5 Estrellas. No sé cómo lo hacen, pero las historias que escriben a cuatro manos estas dos autoras siempre consiguen animarme. Y este fake romance navideño no podía ser menos, aunque sea todo un cliché y menos hot de lo que nos tienen acostumbradas.

Entre lo de los correos a Querida Ida / Soraya (un guiño a la prota de Stuck-up suit) por culpa de los nombres intercambiados y el caballo, las peripecias de Riley y Kennedy me han sacado una sonrisa y dejado el corazón contento. Además, me encanta la portada.

Por cierto, está gratis en KU.
Profile Image for Briana B..
84 reviews27 followers
December 16, 2020
Such a cute story!! I loved bringing in the somewhat old fashioned Dear (Ida) columns. Add in a literal white horse and I just about swooned😍😍😍

I also need to say that I love the cover for this book!
Displaying 1 - 30 of 3,094 reviews

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